10/09/2012 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 09, 2012

Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies... That Actually Work!

Thanks to new cafeteria regulations, our nation's children will be eating healthier meals at school this fall including more fruit, whole grains and vegetables. But how do we get our kids to eat more veggies and healthier options at home?

As a mother of two and owner of the Studio of Good Living, I'd like to share with you tips for getting kids to eat their veggies and preparing healthy, quick-fix meals and snacks while having fun with the family in the kitchen.

How to get your kids to eat veggies: 

  1. Lead by example -- if you don't eat spinach, neither will the kids!
  2. Talk to them about shapes/colors/flavors of different vegetables and how/where they grow.
  3. Bring them to the farmer's market and let them choose a vegetable or two that they would like to try.
  4. Invite them into the kitchen to help prepare the vegetables they picked out. Have fun cooking veggies by treating it like a science experiment: try roasting, mashing and steaming for different textures and discuss how changing the cooking method changes the flavor and texture of each veggie.
How to prepare healthy, quick-fix meals: 
  1. Plan ahead! Wash, chop, and portion vegetables once or twice a week instead of as needed.
  2. Keep the pantry well stocked with pasta, rice, beans, etc. 
  3. Keep 'family favorites' and/or 'frequent use' recipes within easy reach to save time from scouring cookbooks.
  4. Keep knives sharp. It takes a lot less effort to prep meals, especially veggies, with a sharp knife. A sharp knife is also safer than a dull one.
  5. Start a love affair with your rice cooker. Simply plug it in, measure out the rice/liquid, press a button and presto! -- enjoy perfectly cooked rice every time. While the rice is cooking, sauté a chicken breast or two and steam some pre-portioned and prepped veggies.

Healthy snacks on the go:  Fresh Spring Rolls, Pre-cut Carrots/Celery with Almond Butter, Sweet Potato Slices, Hummus and Pita Roll Ups, Nori, Kale Chips, yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.